Something I didn’t know before I got to Paris: the French love their marshmallows. They are everywhere from grocery stores to cinemas, pastry shops to carnivals. Truly, you are never more than 20 feet from getting your gummy fix here. Really though, what’s not to love- they have a flavor for every palette (including marshmallow for the unadventurous), they are an essential part to favorite recipes that reek of nostalgia (oh rice krispie treat, how I love and miss thee) and their light and airy tendencies make you almost positive that you’re not eating anything bad for you.
But while we minions of America toss a 16 ounce bag of Jet-Puffed goodness into our overflowing shopping carts to add to hot chocolate or to assemble the most terrifying clown cake ever, the haute society of Paris has a better idea.
Tastefully lining the shelves of the floor to ceiling window facing Rue Monge are apothecary glass jars filled with hand crafted marshmallows, available in a range of impossibly French flavors that vary by week like rose, violet, pear and fleur d’orange. Serious treat seeking individuals might splurge on the guimauves covered in chocolate, coconut or both (!). The puffy squares come in small, medium or large, with egg whites, without egg whites, more airy, less airy- the possibilities are endless, so whatever you do, don’t arrive hungry.
We chose carefully and headed out the door behind some French school children who had stopped in for their afternoon snack on their way home- how chic can you get?
Each square was delicious and light, and resembled nothing I had ever tasted before. Subtle, with just a hint of the chosen flavor (a bit heavier than say, the breath of rose in this little number’s chantilly), and without anything even remotely artificial. The pièce de résistance however, was the mint marshmallow covered in rich chocolat noir- just perfection (and the closest I’ll get to a York Peppermint Patty this side of the Atlantic). So while I’ll always remain partial to the down home delicious of Snap, Crackle and Pop, these artisanal guimauves aren’t such bad a trade off, non?
Le Bonbon au Palais. 5th arrondissement.